sociology of the built environment
sociology of the built environmenta recent emphasis in sociology which, according to some theorists, can be the umbrella to bring together a number of special studies previously handled separately, e.g. the SOCIOLOGY OF HOUSING, URBAN SOCIOLOGY, sociological analysis of movements in architecture and town planning. As both material artefacts and expressions of cultural values, the forms taken by individual buildings and by towns and cities are of interest at a number of levels, including:
- their relationship with both the commodification of space and resistances to such commodification (see URBAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS);
- the way the design and the planning of buildings and cities reflects cultural goals and cultural movements (e.g. the movement from the architectural ‘modernism’ of Corbusier or the Bauhaus school, with its principles of functionalism and fidelity to materials, to ‘postmodernism’, which has replaced the ‘author’ and consistent principles with pastiche);
- the way in which (a) and (b) are interrelated, e.g. the view that architectural ‘postmodernism’ comes in two forms: one a renewed subservience to commercial values, the other more ‘oppositional’ and seeking a revival of ‘communal values’ (Lash, 1989).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000